Tuesday, May 15, 2007

BIAW So Far

Well, it's Tuesday and I've been participating in BIAW for 2 days now, how utterly exciting!
Yesterday I wrote 2907 words, which I thought was a good start since I've been so seriously slack lately. Today so far I've written 2396 words, though I do plan to continue, to try and get myself over the 3000 word mark, leaving me 9000 words or so to write between tomorrow and Sunday. Since I'm working for the rest of the week, I thought it might be a good idea to get out as many as I could early on.
But enough about that, as fascinating as I'm sure it is.
BIAW has actually been a little tough for me so far. Not the actual writing part, just because I have to totally admit I'm going through a "woe-is-me" stage at the moment. Maybe that's why I just haven't been able to bring myself to write these past weeks.
Fine. I'll admit it. All of the rejections I've gotten off agents the past months are not rolling off me like water on a duck, as I may have previously led you to believe. Don't get the wrong idea, my resolve to be published is still kicking, alive and well. But I guess you can only get so many rejections before the negative thoughts start creeping in. It's not all bad, as I may have been making it sound. I have had some requests for partials (though no requests for a full ms, but that could have something to do with the fact that I'm actually yet to finish the damn thing), though quite obviously the rejects outweigh those.
So, what negative thoughts am I having, you may wonder? Unfortunately its the usual round of "why am I bothering with this? Obviously it's not good enough to be published, my writing isn't strong enough, my characters aren't working, the story isn't interesting enough blah blah blah."
Most of these doubts I just push aside and forge on, ignoring that evil little voice in my head.
However, in all honesty, I'm beginning to think I missed the Paranormal Romance Train. Here's an interesting little story:
When I began writing, I wanted to write Historical Romance, and I did. Three complete manuscripts. Actually, I banged out the first one really quickly, then the other two I slowly wrote over the past couple of years, because despite whatever else I happen to be writing, I love my historicals the most, and hope to go back, fix them up (because believe me, they need fixing, the first one especially) and get them published. At the time when I started writing, six years ago, Regency Historicals were huge. They were all the rage. Authors like Julia Quinn, Suzanne Enoch, Karen Hawkins, Gaelen Foley, Sabrina Jefferies and Elizabeth Boyle were dominating the market. They were the benchmark. Everyone wanted their books, everyone wanted to write like them.
With the absolute saturation of historicals on the market, I soon realized that it was very hard for a debut author to have anything historical published, when one: there was that saturation happening, and two: they were going up against the authors as mentioned above.
So I put my dreams of publishing historicals aside and decided I was going to write something else. I came up with an idea. I loved Buffy, the whole Vampire/paranormal thing was something I'd enjoyed, though at that stage I'd only read one or two of Christine Feehan's Carpathian series. There were a few paranormals about at that time, but not many, and the idea I had was original. I wanted a male character who thought he was the last vampire, and I was going to put him up against the very people who slaughtered his own, a race of Immortals.
So I wrote and wrote and wrote. Admittedly it took me a good year or more to write the manuscript. I was studying and working at the same time, so my personal time for writing was limited. But in 2005, I had a manuscript ready to go. I sent it out, and of course got rejections and some more rejections, but a proposal that went out in September of that year stayed out, a certain publisher kept it. They didn't send it back. In fact, they kept it for a year. In that time, paranormals started coming out like they were a new brand of Coca Cola. Sherrilyn Kenyon was making a killing (no pun intended) with her Dark Hunter series, and other paranormal authors were seeing success left right and centre.
I was worried about my proposal. I still loved the idea, but the story I'd written and characters I'd used just didn't seem right, and it had taken me a while to see it. So I experimentally started again, aiming to have a darker, more intense story than the first. It had new characters, so of course a totally different feel to the first.
That certain publisher finally sent it back, and to my excitement, the editor herself had written to me, no form rejection for me this time!. She said that while she was intrigued by the idea, she didn't like the characters or story, so wouldn't pursue that particular work. Maybe I read the letter a thousand times (or more) and totally over analyzed it, but I felt by her wording that the subject was not entirely closed should I wish to pursue it. Since I had several chapters of the new/same story sitting there, I edited the hell out of them and sent them back, only to find out a scant few weeks later that this particular editor had moved on from that certain publishing house, much to my disappointment. So, as of now, my proposal has sat at that certain publishing house for a good eight months. But at least they haven't sent it back, which is the far better alternative, though obviously not as good as just agreeing to publish the stupid thing.
I do have a point to this long story, and that is I feel Paranormal Romance has reached a point where Historical Romance was a few years ago. There is such a saturation of Paranormal Romance on the market at the moment that it's not funny. I love paranormal, but it's starting to ruin it for me. You see, there are great authors, like JR Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon to name two, and then there's the saturation. Seriously. Some of the paranormals I've read, or attempted to read lately, have been a real disappointment.
IMHO, these books are getting published on the uniqueness of their idea alone, and because paranormal is such a big hit at the moment. It is quite obvious that with some of these authors, their ability to write was not the first thing that caught the editor's attention. Some of them are debut authors (which is great for them, having achieved success!) and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, that their writing will improve with age and experience (says me... who might as well be a spring chicken). Perhaps I shouldn't be too critical, since you find this phenomenon with any genre in any corner of the market. There's the authors who weave stories so successfully that the book is over before you know it, and then there's the authors who are so clumsy they can barely keep two paragraphs together. Until recently, there'd only been one instance in my reading history where I'd been so frustrated with the writing that I literally threw the book across the room. But unfortunately, this occurrence has been happening more and more often, which is also starting to make me wary of buying books which are by authors I've never read before. But, what goes around comes around, and since Karma is a clever woman, I hate to think what some critiques might say about my books, should I ever get them published!
So what I'm saying is that I've missed the Paranormal Romance Train. Despite having worked on this idea for a good four years now, despite the fact that paranormals were barely a dent in readership statistics when I started, I missed the ban-wagon (or is it band-wagon? I don't actually know, which is why I should probably avoid using such cliches. And cliches are like a death knell anyway. If an editor was reading this, they'd probably say 'she's managed to fit 50 cliches into this one post, I'd hate to see what her manuscripts look like.' For the record, I do avoid the old cliches in my manuscripts, but for informal writing, they are such fun!), and now I'm quite sure that editors and agents alike are quite sick of seeing "I've written a paranormal romance about vampires and I'd like you to consider representing me/publishing my book," whenever they happen to open a letter.
So I'm giving myself until the end of June. I'll finish the manuscript (after all, I only have about 20,000 words left to write) and I might send out a few more query letters here and there, but when June 30 comes around, that'll be it. The paranormal will be going away. You might think it a waste to put away a project I've been working on for four years or whatever, but to be quite frank, I'm sick of paranormal myself. Besides, I've got an action/suspense romance half written that I started last year. It's been calling me back, the characters trying to distract me away from Vampires and Immortals. So, for the second half of this year, I'll be sending out queries for the action/suspense romance. There's not so many of those about at the moment. A few, I'll grant, but we're not drowning in them like the damn paranormals. Lets hope I can actually get somewhere with this manuscript, and not get bulldozed over by the Romantic Suspense Train, if indeed it happens to be on the way. You can never tell in this market. I have heard said that Westerns are going to come back big time. All I have to say is: AHHHH!!! I've never liked Westerns, so I don't think I'll ever find myself reading any of those. And I'm not writing what I think will get published, contrary to the evidence of it. I'm writing the stories that are clamouring for attention in my head. It might mean that I never get published, but at least if I write them down, the characters won't be running around in my head any longer, shoving each other out of the way in order to get my attention.
But like I said before, what goes around comes around. Maybe by the time I'm 50, paranormals will have been and gone, and come back again, and my story will be shared with the world then. In the meantime, I pray that I might be able to eventually get my historicals published. I don't know why, but I love them so!
Sorry this was The Longest Entry in the History Of JessAnastasi.blogsopt.com, but it had to be said. Wish me well, as I take on yet another new path.

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